With several civic engineers and contractors in trouble over the shoddy de-silting of Mumbai’s major nulhas, senior officials of the storm water drain (SWD) department have demanded a probe into the cleaning of minor drains too.
Three deputy chief engineers, in charge of the island city, the western and the eastern suburbs, have written to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, asking why only the contracts for the cleaning of major nullahs are under investigation. There could be shoddy work and irregularities in the cleaning of minor drains too, and there should be a probe into this, the letter, of which Hindustan Times has a copy, said.
Mehta said the issues raised in the letter will be taken seriously. “We will examine the letter and decide what action needs to be taken,” he said.
The officials have demanded an inquiry into all 51 divisional contracts (19 minor and 32 major) for nullah cleaning, claiming the de-silting of minor drains is equally important, as they play a major role in preventing waterlogging during heavy rain.
“The administration should conduct an inquiry into the de-silting of 19 minor nullahs too, before taking action against the officials concerned. Also, we should be given fair chance to explain our side,” said a senior official from the SWD department.
After the June 10 deluge in the city, the five-member committee formed for probing the de-silting of drains had examined nine of Mumbai’s 32 major nullahs. Its report revealed only 50% of the desilting done, apart from several irregularities by engineers and contractors. This prompted Mehta to recently order an inquiry into the other major drains too.
An official involved in the inquiry of these 23 major nullahs said, “There are huge amounts of data and records of de-silting work to be checked. It is expected to take four weeks. The report will have the names of guilty engineers and contractors.”